Posted by Tim Vidra / July 23, 2013
How To: Make Spent Beer Grain Dog Treats Recipe
Basil appreciates a good brew day just as much as we do, but for his own selfish reasons — he knows he's going to get some fresh dog cookies made with the leftover spent grains from the brew!
You might remember we recently stopped by our friends' house (Clay and Corrina of 2 Noble Dog Brewing) during brew day and took Basil along for the fun. They were so nice to send us home with two heaping containers full of spent grains from the brew to work with and we ended up making a mega batch of dog treats with them that Basil absolutely loved, so today we're sharing the recipe for them along with a few tips for working with spent grains.
First a little background — Clay of 2 Noble Dogs Brewing is a good friend of mine from back in high school and has been home brewing for years now. He's built his brewing setup from scratch and even makes his own mash paddles — the guy is pretty amazing.
He and his wife are also avid dog lovers in addition to the brew — meet their 3 babies, Yabba, Dabba and Bodhi who Basil loved getting a chance to run around and play with:
Corrina had a tried and true dog treat recipe on hand that uses spent grains as the main ingredient and passed it along for us to use as a reference — you can tell they probably go through a lot of dog cookies in this house! We've been wanting to try our hands at making spent grain dog treats ever since our good friends, Emily & J, sent a jar of them with us for Basil on our honeymoon.
Clay explained parts of the brewing method while we hung outside and how the grains are an integral part of the process, but are a huge by-product after the fact:
He said there are lots of new recipes popping up as ways to re-use the spent grains, but that it also makes good compost for the garden if they end up with too much. They've made all sorts of things from bread, to pizza dough and of course, dog treats.
Here's Corrina scooping out the spent grains from the vessel with a colander into a tall stock pot to bring inside and divide up:
Once inside, we continued to drain the spent grains before transferring them over to transportable containers to take home with us:
Corrina explained that it's best to use the spent grains right away or within the first few days after brewing, otherwise they will go bad. She did tell us you can freeze them in portion sized bags for storing and later use, and that there are even ways to dry and grind down the grains into a flour for storing and use later too.
We took the recipe she gave us for the dog treats, doubled it and modified only a few things, like swapping in whole wheat flour for white and adding more as needed. The ingredients here seem pretty flexible, if you wanted to swap in brown rice flour, or add flax seeds or other mix-ins, for example. We'd love to try different versions down the road now that we've tackled this first basic batch with success!
- 4 cups spent grain
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 2 organic eggs
Somebody was paying extra close attention to this photo-taking step of this recipe post — his doggy senses never lie and he just had an inkling that these cookies were going to have his name written all over them:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, combine and mix each of the ingredients thoroughly until a thick dough forms:
We found the mixture to be very sticky at this stage, but added flour as needed to help roll into a ball. Don't be surprised if it's sticking to your fingers — it will also begin to harden up and get easier to form the more you work with it:
Roll out the dough on a generously floured surface and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, lining them up on baking sheets. No greasing was necessary for the baking sheets.
If you don't have cookie cutters or want a more natural shape you can cut the dough with a knife, or use spoons to create drop cookies. We used this as a fun excuse to pull out our jumbo box of cookie cutters. We're pretty sure Basil prefers his cookies in shapes too.
When using the cookie cutters, we did find it was hard to get a completely clean cut through the spent grains, so expect some edges to look rough and rustic — once you get the basic shape, you can kind of push the rough edges in and under to get a cleaner looking line if you want.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 225 degrees and continue baking for 2 hours. Cooking them the additional time at the lower temperature will help ensure they dry completely, extending their shelf life:
The dried cookies will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container and even longer if you freeze them in zipper bags. We freeze ours and give them to Basil straight from the freezer bag as a cool treat during the summer.
Here's a little message Basil put together, thanking Clay and Corrina for the spent grains and dog treat recipe they so generously gave us:
Outside of all the cookie letters, we made little hearts, stars, bite size circles and even some big sized dinosaurs (that in my opinion look like Barney) for Basil:
These are fun to make in big batches, make great gifts for friends with dogs, and in our experience are a big hit with our big guy, Basil!
Have you made dog treats or other recipes with spent beer grains? We'd love to know what's worked for you and what we should be trying next!